Libya’s al-Sarraj calls on Libyans to ‘turn the page’

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj (L), speaks with European Council President Charles Michel (R) and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (C) during their meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, on January 8, 2020. (AFP)

The head of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj on Monday called on Libyans to “turn the page on the past,” as he prepared to sign a ceasefire agreement in Moscow with the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar.

“I call on all Libyans to turn the page on the past, reject discord and to close ranks to move towards stability and peace,” he said in a short televised speech.

The signing of the agreement will pave the way for the revival of the political process, said Libya’s head of High Council of State Khaled al-Mechri on the country’s al-Ahrar TV channel.

Mechri said he would accompany Sarraj to Moscow, while parliament speaker Aguila Salah will travel with Haftar.

Both sides in Libya’s conflict had already agreed to a ceasefire from Sunday to end nine months of fighting, following weeks of international diplomacy and calls for a truce by power-brokers Russia and Turkey.

The GNA in Tripoli had been under attack since last April from forces loyal to Haftar, which on January 6 captured the strategic coastal city of Sirte.

Late on Saturday, Haftar’s forces announced a ceasefire starting at midnight (Sunday 0000 local time, Saturday 2200 GMT) in line with a joint call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Sarraj, who met Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday, confirmed the ceasefire had taken effect.

The head of Russia’s contact group to Tripoli, Lev Dengov, said the two rivals will have to determine in the Russian capital “the terms of the future settlement in Libya, including the possibility of signing an agreement on the ceasefire and its details.”

He added he did not know if the two men would agree to meet directly.

According to a Libyan source quoted by the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti, Khalifa Haftar has already arrived in Moscow.

“They will have separate meetings with Russian officials and emissaries of the Turkish delegation, which is cooperating with Russia on this issue,” said Dengov, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar are also expected to arrive in Moscow on Monday.

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Last Update: 02:17 KSA 05:17 - GMT 02:17
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